Most underground mines – in Africa and around the world – have a two-way radio network to handle important voice communications. Many also have a WiFi network or other proprietary network to provide access to data from monitoring instrumentation (geotechnical, hydrological, gas detection/air quality etc.), vehicle/equipment and personnel tracking systems, etc.
Mostly, these two systems operate independently, leading to a significant amount of infrastructural duplication. This can increase installation and maintenance costs, and cause delays. However, traditional voice and data networks are starting to converge. This is occurring due to the development of technologies like LTE (4G).
But is it possible to take LTE technology and functionality underground?
Yes, it is! We have recently introduced a solution to Ramjack customers in Africa, Europe and the Middle East that adds LTE to an existing (or new) VHF/UHF leaky feeder network, creating a single mine-wide hyper-efficient communications network that can handle all of the mine’s voice communication and data transfer needs.
New, high-bandwidth, low-power communications networks can be set up automatically LTE-ready, or LTE functionality can be easily added to existing already installed networks by replacing existing 2-way BDAs (bi-directional amplifiers/comms boxes) with METStech LTE BDAs.
Migration of existing networks to LTE is very simple. The BDAs can be installed by any qualified electrician, and the system makes use of the existing leaky feeder/radiating cable network, preserving the functionality of VHF/UHF equipment and systems that are already in use.
Some of our key personnel have just returned from travelling across Africa and Europe to introduce this groundbreaking technology to selected mine operators — and they experienced overwhelming interest in the concept and the benefits it offers to any underground mine by combining two-way voice communications and high-bandwidth, low-power LTE communications into a single solution.
Contact us now to find out more about how this solution can enhance communications in your African underground mine and make it a safer, more efficient place.